Wally’s Big New Rocket

Wally is back in the grand-prix racing game with a Botin Partners-designed 51-footer for one-design and coastal racing.
wallyrocket51 rendering
The wallyrocket51 is the Italian’s latest foray into big-boat one-design racing. Courtesy Wally

The was plenty of buzz surrounding the luxury motor yachts and big new cruisers at the Cannes International Boatshow last week, and amongst the many press conferences was the big reveal of a new big-boat one-design class from Wally Yachts, which announced “a new direction for the brand,” one “born from an aim to create the world’s fastest race boat that can thrill as a one-design class but which can thread her way to the top of the podium against the elite in IRC and ORC racing by sailing faster and rating lower than anything around her.”

This, they say, is the wallyrocket51, coming to a European racecourse next year.

Measuring in somewhere near the slick and fast 52s of the SuperSeries, this latest Wally, the builder says, “is designed to beat them.” [Eds. note: this statement has been amended to say “designed to beat any other boat.”]

How so? “Innovative features, ultralight displacement and an exhaustively refined hull,” designed in collaboration with Botin Partners. “The idea of Wally was to make a very strict one-design class that could provide pure racing, that was high-tech and that could provide a lot of fun, but which could also be very competitive under IRC and ORC rating rules,” says Adolfo Carrau, Partner at Botin Partners Naval Architecture. “That was the starting point. We began with a 52-foot design because of our knowledge in that size and the fact that it’s also a size that has proven competitive in all conditions and sea states.

But the first secret of the wallyrocket51 design,” he teases, “is that it’s not a 52-footer, it’s a 51-footer.”

Shaving that extra foot from the platform, Wally says, brings the boat’s racing trimming down to a mere 6.3 tons, “which makes the wallyrocket51 very reactive, super-fast downwind and quick to plane.”

To boost its upwind performance and reduce leeway from the narrow underwater appendages, they’ve returned to some old school technology with the use of a trailing-edge trim tab on the keel fin. “In spite of having a shorter waterline length,” they say, “the wallyrocket51 will be able to sail higher and faster than competitors.”

Rendering of the wallyrocket51
Intended to work around percieved limitations of current rating rules, the wallrocket51 is positioned as a lightweight, water-ballasted one-design that will benefit upwind from a keel trim tab. Wally

This is all theoretical, of course, and only once the first boat races will we see the capabilities of this new rule-beating one-design big-boat class concept. According to Wally, the boat will be raced by a crew of 11, assisted with a water ballast system that’s part righting moment booster and part pitch dampener. The ballast system capacity is 145 gallons (approximately 1,200 pounds), and is projected to take 80 seconds to fill, 60 seconds to empty, and 10 seconds to transfer.

Says the builder: “The combination of keel trim tab and water ballast has been cleverly designed to offer a greater performance gain than the rating sacrifice they entail which, in combination with the length and displacement advantages, will give the wallyrocket51 the edge at all points of the racecourse.”

“This project represents a truly unique approach to the creation of a new boat that was very much needed in today’s competitive landscape for this size. The wallyrocket51 is very close to our hearts and has eluded us for years as we sought to develop a design that could win any regatta in the world,” says Stefano de Vivo, Wally’s Managing Director. “We have cracked it at last, and we anticipate strong demand for the wallyrocket51 once the world sees it perform. This is a boat that will appeal to all those owners who love to race at the highest level but want to do so in a new and entertaining way.”

Carrau characterizes Botin’s latest design as “a very versatile boat and it goes well upwind, downwind and reaching – and it’s also engineered to ISO Cat-A so it can do any offshore race. Our simulations show that she can beat her competition under IRC or ORC in any of those inshore or offshore scenarios.”

The hull is a pre-preg carbon and Corecell laminate, while Nomex is used in deck. The high-modulus carbon rig is by Southern Spars (and AeroSix standing rigging) and the sail areas add up to 163.9 square meters upwind and 361 square meters downwind. “Fast, fun, smart and revolutionary, as all Wallys,” says Luca Bassani, Wally’s Founder and Chief Designer. “With her dramatic reverse sheerline, flush deck and long bowsprit, the wallyrocket51 is instantly part of the family. And true to Wally’s DNA she will feature some ground-breaking innovations that not only make it the most competitive vessel, but also reduce the annual running costs versus the existing one-design classes today.”

The first wallyrocket51 is already under construction and it is scheduled to launch in 2024.